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Seizing future while treasuring past

18th August 2013
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As football federations on the continent get on with the weighty business of improving African football, the need to cherish the past while trying to boldly seize the future is absolutely important.

Indeed, African children born within the last decade have grown up in a golden era when football players from the continent are considered as arguably, the biggest things since sliced bread.

But, to those in the know, it was not always that way. Time was when the continent’s football scene was routinely ridiculed and mocked due to the shoddy displays of African countries at global football’s showpiece event, the FIFA World Cup.

The world’s change of heart about African football was prompted by daring, giant-slaying performances of teams such as Cameroon, Morocco and Nigeria at World Cup finals in the eighties through to the nineties.

But are youngsters on the continent today aware of this, and that bona fide football legends such as Roger Milla, the late Sam Okwaraji and Rabah Madjer toiled tirelessly in obscurity until they could finally spring to prominence and in so doing, raise the stock of African football players, perhaps forever?

One doubts this, which is in some ways understandable, what with the almost easy availability of cable TV in Africa, that allows youngsters to feast their eyes on the money-spinning and admittedly, sublime European football leagues.

So, while trying to assure Africans of a glorious and rosy football future, football governing bodies on the continent should seriously consider coming up with creative initiatives aimed at treasuring our past and the continent’s hard-earned exalted status on the world football stage today.

And, from a strictly Tanzanian perspective, the incoming Tanzania Football Federation leadership could certainly do worse than assume the lead role in this ambitious project, which is intended to preserve the rich history of African football for future generations.

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY